By Constantinos Psillides
HEALTH MINISTER Philippos Patsalis promised on Monday to promote natural birth in low risk-pregnant women, in an attempt to deal with the unusually high number of caesarean sections in Cyprus.
According to Patsalis, 51 per cent of pregnant women in Cyprus opt for a caesarean section, over three times the percentage set by World Health Organisation. According to WHO, caesarean sections should only account for 12-15 per cent of the total births.
In a speech read at the start of the “Promotion and Support of Natural Births” campaign, the minister promised that low-risk pregnant women would be informed regarding natural birth, “so as to accept and embrace it as a natural event in their life”.
The minister added that he will be taking into consideration the creation of a “natural birth room” in all hospitals, as suggested by the Cyprus Nurses and Midwives (CNM) association. This would be equipped with information material regarding natural births.
Patsalis said that in recent years, in cooperation with hospital services and the CNM, the ministry had drafted a national strategy on the benefits of breast feeding and established protocols that govern the midwife profession.
The “C-section mentality” was discussed on February 14 before the House health committee. MPs from all parties concluded then that the ministry should start a campaign on informing women about natural birth. AKEL MP Stella Misiaouli attributed the trend in C-section births “to a lack of information and a mentality which exists in pregnant women.. It has been proven that a large number of women ask to undergo C-sections themselves”.
The MPs had said then that they hoped that the “C-section mentality” was due to lack of information and not that pregnant women were being talked into “an easy birth” because the procedure is expensive and thus lucrative for private hospitals.